Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Hybrid working: what is it and how does it work?

The past year and a half has seen an unexpected and dramatic shift in how business and work is done. Never before have so many people been shuttered from working onsite and forced to work from home. Now that businesses are reopening and lockdown rules are lifting, many organisations are retaining a hybrid working model to get the best work-scheduling strategy possible. Below, we’ll explain what a hybrid work schedule looks like and what some of the advantages are.

What Is Hybrid Work?

Simply, a hybrid work schedule balances remote work with onsite work. This is also becoming a new norm for many during the pandemic and there is plenty of advice on hybrid working currently. This kind of work schedule is most always applied to those who have computer-based positions, though in some instances, travelling is an inherent part of the job, which could qualify as a hybrid work schedule. Ultimately, however, a hybrid work schedule is dependent on a high-functioning network that allows connectivity whether employees are in the office or at a remote site. This allows streamlined transmission of information without any lags in productivity.

Many individuals found that remote work is exceptionally convenient and actually allows for more productivity because of the elimination of commuting and other time-intensive aspects of going to work (like getting out of your pyjamas!). Others found that remote work can decrease privacy while making you constantly accessible, leading to feelings of working more that lead to burnout. Many employers are seeking a hybrid work schedule to bridge the gap between the traditional working format and the modern workplace conveniences to maximise the advantages of both while minimising the detractions.

The Advantages Of Hybrid Work

There are a variety of advantages to a hybrid work schedule relative to the nature of combining remote work with onsite work. The first benefit is that it decreases commuting. Many employees spend an exceptional amount of time commuting, up to 41 minutes a day, whether by car or public transportation. Suppose you are working from home for 2-3 days of the week and working at an office for the rest. In that case, the time spent at home can lead to greater productivity, fewer costs and liabilities for employees (relative to the potential for accidents, traffic jams or any other delays), and more time for recreational purposes that improves work/life balance and overall productivity. Likewise, if employees use company vehicles or transportation fees to cover their transportation costs, reducing the commute to and from work will decrease company overhead and lead to an increase in profits.

Many in the workforce are parents, and many parents enjoy time at home around their children. Although the parental monitoring role varies based on the age of the child, for children who aren’t in school yet and aren’t involved with remote learning, having time at home greatly eases any childcare duties. It also makes it easier to attend to any other domestic or child-rearing duties that arise, such as picking kids up from school or making dinner, doctors appointments and attending any parent-teacher conferences. More time at home means better home life, which usually leads to better work performance.

A hybrid work schedule could also lead to less overhead overall. Depending on the nature of your business, all employees could come into the office on certain days, or you could shift schedules so that some are there half of the week and others are there the other half of the week. The first option is probably more feasible for smaller operations but once again depends on the nature of your enterprise. Either option reduces a variety of expenses, such as lavatory supplies, office supplies and electricity for lights and computer usage, which once again decreases expenses and can lead to greater profits.

If the nature of your enterprise has employees who frequently travel, they are probably already accustomed to remote work. In this case, a hybrid schedule could be expanded so that more time is spent at home, which could potentially ease burnout and exhaustion after long business trips, and a minimal amount of time could then be spent in the office.

The benefits of a hybrid schedule don’t just come from the remote work component. Office work is much better for organisations that have regular meetings or coordinating events to oversee strategy and discuss ideas. It is much less distracting and much more focused to speak in person rather than over the phone or through digital platforms such as Zoom, which have developed a reputation for letting distractions in as much as conversation. Likewise, being in an office provides an opportunity for standardising and centralising any resources needed, which can save on employee expenses while also maintaining the quality of your product and services.

Office work also has a better reputation for maintaining consistency with digital accessibility and performance. If everyone has their own internet provider and operating system, there is a greater likelihood that there will be glitches in performance and connectivity. Having temporary or intermittent office work allows employees and employers to benefit from systems that can be monitored and repaired more expeditiously and effectively while retaining high-performance standards.

The last benefit of office-based work is that it leads to a greater focus from many employees while also facilitating greater camaraderie. Many employees can become distracted or disinterested with work when there are other obligations or interests nearby; an office helps to create a professional environment where everyone can focus on the collective mission. Likewise, when employees are all in the office, it facilitates communication, collaboration and support networks that are difficult if not impossible to maintain through remote work.

Conclusion

Although there are costs and benefits to every strategy, the advent and endorsement of hybrid work appear to be a trend that will persist into the future. If you are an organisation looking to overhaul your workplace strategies or just want to maximise the work/life benefits of your staff, introducing a hybrid working schedule will help you to get the best of the remote and office-based working environments. For the workplace of the future, hybrid work has made many realise that forsaking one’s work/life balance is a thing of the past!

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